Roman Britain: A Case Study Of Roman Conquest & Rule
=The Effects of Roman Rule=
As the Romans did not believe in imposing their religion or culture on the subjugated peoples, the client kingdoms were allowed much leeway in their own continuation of their lifestyles. British Celtic culture, aside from superficial changes, remained much the same, especially for the farmers or the poor, who did not aspire to life in the cities and were absorbed with agriculture.
However, the introduction of administration along tribal lines led to the co-opting of the Celtic aristocracies into Roman system of governance. Such a principle was one of the mainstays of Roman Imperialism – to bring order and “civilization” to the primitive “barbarians” – and they carried out this mission with a great deal of vigour, to say nothing of cultural superiority. Indeed, since the locals had their pride assuaged by being made a part of the administrative system, they were more willing to cooperate, since there were opportunities to rise in status or gain wealth by working with the Romans. This practice of employing locals to run the “civil service” in the colonised territory, in which they willingly adopt imperial customs can still be seen today, where “Anglicized” Indians and Chinese switch to life in British-style India or Hongkong, respectively.
For these Celts who adopted the habits of their Roman conquerors, the new towns, established by Rome, were the focal points of society. The Romans considered “sophistication” as symbolised by the growth of these towns, instead of the rural farms and the mud huts of the Celts. To entice the Celtic aristocrats to build proper houses, they turned these towns into hubs of commerce, with town councils in charge. Aside from economic activities taking place in these new urban centres, law courts and a forum allowed justice to be meted out and assemblies to be held. Historical legacies of the Roman cultural influence can be found in the country “villas”, the architecture, the famed “Roman roads” – a network of over 9600km- and public baths.
In the same way as the US presence in Germany and Korea proved an economic boon to these countries, (which is why the proposed withdrawal is being protested) the local market was boosted by the presence of as many as forty thousand soldiers, all requiring food, clothes, drink, weaponry, etc.
Perhaps the most endearing legacy from the Roman Empire is in its self-declared mission of “civilisation”, attempting to enlighten and “lift up” the cultures of their colonies, bringing the order of a superior culture onto these conquered nations. Such an altruistic (even if misguided) sentiment characterised the British Empire, proof of Imperialism’s lingering effects on a nation’s psyche.